“Forget the politics that have divided the founder Morihei Ueshiba’s aikido into a half-dozen communities, all calling themselves aikido. There are, in truth, only two aikido camps today: one mostly hidden, some say forgotten, and the other ascendant.
The first is a fearsome martial art cobbled together from older Japanese styles, resulting in a pattern of off-balancing entries, devastating throws and effective joint locks. That was the system Morihei Ueshiba, also known as O-Sensei, used in 70 matches when adepts from other styles came by to ask for a “lesson.”
The second is a noncombat-related practice in which aikido moves are taught to advance Morihei Ueshiba’s social philosophy, one in which effectiveness is at best secondary to goals of personal balance and communal harmony. That is hombu aikido today, the discipline that’s advanced by the founder’s grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba, the current head, or doshu, of the style. That doesn’t mean the aikido moves he teaches are ineffective, only that martial excellence is, for him, a secondary concern….”